Bye Week News and Notes

So, we officially enter Notre Dame week but there are a few items to look at from last week.

Something that caught my eye was in terms of scheduling. USC and Texas are talking about a home and home series...

The L.A. Times reported that USC is looking for a marquee BCS conference opponent for a future home-and-away series, and one discussion has been with Texas.

Help me out. When these two teams last played, was the game sorta entertaining?

From the Times:

Steve Lopes, a senior associate athletic director who handles scheduling, said playing nonconference opponents such as Ohio State and Notre Dame on the road in the same season was "not something you'd really like to do very often."

Lopes confirmed that he has "had conversations" with Texas and other teams from Bowl Championship Series conferences about possible home-and-home series.

USC is trying to fill dates in two-year cycles for 2015-2016, 2017-2018, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.


The game I'd love to see would be USC-Alabama. Great history between the teams -- Bear Bryant, John McKay, USC running back Sam "Bam'' Cunningham in 1970, the split title in 1978 even though the Trojans whipped the Crimson Tide 24-14 in Birmingham, etc.

Uh...Yeah!

Playing Texas would be a blast and I would play Alabama in a second. You gotta love the Pac-10's willingness to go all over the country to play some of these games. No fear! Of course they have to get scheduled and that takes time but the effort on both sides is what this sport needs to keep...I wish we saw that more from some of the teams in the SEC.

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You have to love the OCR's Scott Reid willingness to openly rip his fellow members in the press who vote and the rankings process as a whole with his article that asks why Stanford and the Pac-10 feel the snub again.

Consider that No. 18 Brigham Young's four victories have come against teams that are a combined 8-9 and the Cougars lost at home to 2-3 Florida State 54-28. The "Y" still received 403 votes in this week's AP poll, 353 more than Stanford.

Or consider that one-time national title contender Mississippi is No. 20 in this week's AP poll on the basis of victories over such powerhouses as Memphis, Southeastern Louisiana and Vanderbilt, which are a combined 5-9.

What a joke these wimps are!

I am tired of hearing about BYU. It was a nice win against Oklahoma but one win does not a season make. Same with Utah...it was a nice win over 'bama last season but lets take it easy, they are not in the national discussion year in and year out. Do it consistently for a few years then we will talk. As for the the SEC scheduling FCS patsies all they have to do to take some of the stigma away is to schedule some road games against some lesser D-1 opponents. They don't have to schedule top 10 teams every year for their OOC slate but try to make some effort.

We could go on forever as to why the voting system is a sham with ranking teams high before they even played a game or how the writers or coaches are even able to submit accurate ballots when they never see any other games other than their own. And of course there is the cronyism or pettiness that we all know permiates the voting. The lack of transparancy takes the cake for me...there is no accounatability.

Once again another great read from Reid!

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Let the chess moves begin... 5 games that mean something to USC and how they affect USC in the polls...

NO. 1 FLORIDA AT NO. 4 LSU

  • USC should root for … LSU
  • The logic: The more losses the top-tier SEC teams suffer, the better for USC. LSU would remain unbeaten, but the Tigers have a date with Alabama on Nov. 7.

NO. 3 ALABAMA AT NO. 20 MISSISSIPPI

  • USC should root for … Mississippi
  • The logic: Speaking of the Crimson Tide, it sure would help USC’s cause in the BCS standings if the Rebels could pull the upset here. The long-term problem for the Trojans is that even if LSU beats Florida, Mississippi beats Alabama and Alabama beats LSU, a one-loss SEC champion still most likely would go to the BCS title game ahead of USC.

STANFORD AT OREGON STATE

  • USC should root for … Oregon State
  • The logic: The Trojans need the Cardinal to come back to the pack. Stanford already is 3-0 in the conference. Sure, USC gets Stanford at home in mid-November. But do the Trojans want the improved Cardinal to come to the Coliseum confident and playing for the Rose Bowl?

It is definitely tough to watch than it is to play...

- - -

Speaking of Florida...Tebow Fans sound off, as some fans are not pleased with The SportingNews' picking of Matt Leinart as college football player of the decade.

Read for youself...

- - -

One player that we all wanted to see at full potential is Evereson Griffen. It has been an interesting ride watching him the past few years. So much potential with so little drive, but this year something clicked and Griffen has such a different attitude this season that he is now extra critical of his performance and he looks for improvement...

The junior defensive end ranks second on USC with four sacks in five games, just half a sack less than last season's total. He's fifth on the team in tackles with 17 — behind two linebackers and two safeties.

Griffen greets it all with a shrug.

"I'm playing all right," he said Thursday. "I can play much better. There's always room for improvement."

No matter his personal assessment, Griffen is playing the most consistent football of his Trojans career — finally putting his NFL-caliber combination of size (6-foot-3, 280) and speed to good use on a regular basis.

(That athleticism was on display earlier this week, when he dropped into coverage, deflected a pass and intercepted it.)

USC's coaches have wanted Griffen to practice with high effort and focus on a daily basis, and they're starting to see it. But as talented as Griffen is, there's still a sense that he's just scratching the surface.

I put this all on Jethro Franklin.

Grifffen has been challenged by Franklin this season and so far he is responding. Franklin is another one of those USC coaches that has an NFL background that knows how to get the most of his players. We have all seen flashes of Griffen's talent but this year we have a different player. You can see that he is more driven you can see that he is making plays and reducing his tendency to commit stupid penalties. As noted the article this an interesting year for Griffen who is draft eligible...the better he gets the more likely he could go...

- - -

Trojan great Leon Clarke passes...sad news.

Leon Clarke, an all-league end who led USC in receiving in 1954 and 1955 and was a member of the Trojans' 1955 Rose Bowl team before playing in the NFL for 8 years, died on Monday (Oct. 5) in Los Alamitos, Calif., of pancreatitis. He was 76.

Clarke, who prepped at Venice (Calif.) High, lettered 3 years (1953-55) at USC. He led the Trojans in receiving as both a junior (13 catches for 232 yards) and senior (15 catches for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns), earning All-Pacific Coast Conference honors in 1955. The Trojans posted a 6-3-1 record in his 1953 sophomore campaign, then went 8-4 in his junior season and finished ranked No. 17 nationally by AP after falling to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. USC was 6-4 and ended up ranked No. 13 the following year. He played in the East-West Shrine Game, Hula Bowl and College All-Star Game after his senior season.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clarke's family.

- - -

I am going to write a separate basketball post in the fan shots this weekend as a few things popped up that we should look at with the season just around the corner...

More later.

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